Oakland Technical High School

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Coordinates: 37°49′56.07″N 122°15′14.64″W / 37.8322417°N 122.2540667°W / 37.8322417; -122.2540667

Oakland Technical High School
Oakland Technical High.jpg
Front entrance to Oakland Technical High School
4351 Broadway
Oakland, California, 94611
Type Public
Established 1914
School district Oakland USD
Principal Staci Ross-Morrison
Grades 912
Enrollment 1800 (2012-13)
Color(s) Purple and Gold         
Athletics conference CIF Oakland Section
Mascot Bobo the Bulldog
Nickname Tech; Oakland Tech
Accreditation WASC
Newspaper The Scribe

Oakland Technical High School, known locally as Oakland Tech or simply "Tech", is a public high school in Oakland, California, and is operated under the jurisdiction of the Oakland Unified School District. It is one of six comprehensive public high school campuses in Oakland. Oakland Tech's attendance jurisdiction includes several neighborhoods, including Oakland Chinatown, Rockridge, North Oakland, and Temescal.

Tech received the maximum 6-year accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges in 2009.[1]


Oakland Tech's main building was built in 1914 and resembles the main science building of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During the 1970s when many California schools were being demolished and rebuilt for earthquake safety, Tech's main building was determined to be too historic to tear down. Instead, it was gutted and rebuilt on the inside, while its historic exterior was preserved. The school was declared the 99th [2] historic landmark by the city of Oakland on July 23, 1985.[3]

University High School, where Tech moved temporarily during retrofitting in the 1970s

While Tech was closed for earthquake retrofitting in the 1970s, the school was displaced to 5714 Martin Luther King Jr. Way (formerly Grove Street). This location is sometimes erroneously referred to "Old Tech" but was actually the campus of the now defunct University High School (1923–1948). That campus had then served as Merritt College from 1954 to 1966 and is considered the birthplace of the Black Panthers.

In 1977 a group of students from a U.S. Government class at Tech launched a drive to get a California state holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.. The idea was not new - about a dozen states already had such holidays, and it had been proposed unsuccessfully at the national level - but it was still controversial. The students formed themselves into a group called "The Apollos" and lobbied for the holiday for four years; it was finally passed by the legislature and signed by the governor in 1981. In 2008 two students at other Oakland high schools heard about the Apollos and made an award-winning short documentary film about their successful quest.[4]


Students at Oakland Technical High School have the option of enrolling in one of the school's academies, which operate as small subsets of the school. Students take one class within their academies, and spend the rest of the day in normal classes.

Paideia is an advanced History and English program directed by Maryann Wolfe and Marietta Joe. Together they both teach grades 10–12. In the sophomore year, students have the option to take English 2 Paideia and World Cultures, taught by Douglas Stubblefield and Marietta Joe. In 11th grade, students, based on their grades, have the option to enroll in AP or HP English and US History, taught by Elizabeth Haugen and Nathan Gong. In 12th grade, students who are recommended may take the advanced senior block, consisting of AP Government, AP Literature, and HP Comparative Government, taught by Marietta Joe and Maryann Wolfe, in which they analyze works of art and compare them to the government. Recently this year, another sub section has been added to Paideia. In senior year, students, according to grades, are also be able to take AP Government and AP English 4.

The Engineering Academy is a rigorous academy that focuses on mechanical engineering. Starting in 10th grade, the students in this academy study engineering, physics (focused on mechanics), drafting, etc. Students in this academy routinely win statewide awards in various competitions. Students can be jointly enrolled in the Paideia and the Engineering programs.

The Engineering Academy and the Paideia program routinely send students to top-tier public and private universities. In 2007 the Engineering Academy sent more girls to the freshman class at MIT than any other school west of the Mississippi. In 2008, over half of the advanced senior block was accepted to the prestigious UC Berkeley.[5] Students regularly score 4’s or 5’s for AP classes taken in the Paideia program.

Test scores[edit]

After being sued for refusing to do so,[6] the Oakland Unified School District mandates that every school publish a public record of their standing on a variety of standardized tests and other quantitative analyses.

California Standard Tests Scores, proficiency rate [1]
English Mathematics Science History/Social
48% 25% 48% 44%

To view more data on Oakland Tech's scores, see: Executive Summary School Accountability Report Card, 2009-10.

Notable alumni[edit]

Appearance in films[edit]

Oakland Technical High School Oakland Tech campus

Tech was featured in the 1987 film The Principal starring James Belushi and Louis Gossett Jr. The Principal was filmed at what is locally referred to as "Old Tech", located at 5700 Martin Luther King Way (formerly 5700 Grove Street, site of the old University High School, which is now a part of the campus of Children's Hospital Oakland.

In 1993, Tech, at its current location, was featured in the movie Made in America featuring Will Smith, Nia Long, Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]